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Politicians weakest link in the fight against Covid-19

By Wilfred Ayaga | June 14th 2020 at 12:00:00 GMT +0300

Despite a ban on public gatherings, they ignore safety guidelines and carelessly congregate with abandon, in the process endangering the lives of many.

Political leaders have thrown the Covid-19 safety guidelines out of the window even as the government invests resources in public campaigns to encourage people to keep the mandatory one-metre distance.

At supermarkets, matatus and restaurants, ordinary Kenyans have embraced the new normal, struggling to keep to the straight and the narrow.

But in true Orwellian tradition where some animals are more equal than others, politicians have ignored the rules, conducting their political business as if everything was normal. They have even forgotten Health Cabinet Secretary Mutahi Kagwe’s warning that “if we treat this disease normally, it will treat us abnormally.”

The violations began with the Jubilee Senate Parliamentary Group meeting on May 11, when President Uhuru Kenyatta hosted more than 20 senators for a meeting that ousted Deputy President William Ruto’s allies from House leadership.

Covid 19 Time Series

 

And just a few days ago, the president again hosted more than 100 MPs in another PG.

The safety guidelines issued by Kagwe at the onset of the pandemic in the country banned all public gatherings, sporting events, open-air religious meetings and “all events that are of a huge public nature”.

The guidelines that are still in place were later complemented by restrictions on movement to curb the spread of infections.

Taking cue from the president, politicians have been falling over each other to break the rules.

Last month, Cotu Secretary General Francis Atwoli hosted more than 40 leaders at his Kajiado home in search of the elusive Luhya unity.

The veteran trade unionist was later captured on video dancing to rhumba as his guests made merry.

Among those in attendance were Devolution CS Eugene Wamalwa, Senate Speaker Ken Lusaka, governors and lawmakers from Western region.

A few days later, more leaders are said to have met at the Karen home of Bungoma Senator Moses Wetang’ula to discuss their political future. Again, no social distancing rules were observed.

And just two days ago, Amani National Congress (ANC) leader Musalia Mudavadi hosted members of the Western political caucus at his residence.

At a press conference held after the meeting, Mudavadi’s guests jostled to be captured on camera, ignoring all safety guidelines issued by the government. Among those at the meeting were Wetang’ula, Kiminin MP Chris Wamalwa and Mumias East MP Benjamin Washiali.

It is however former Kakamega Senator Boni Khalwale who captured the drama of the moment when he was forced to hide in a maize plantation after police stormed an illegal gathering he was addressing.

The incident happened at Mungusi Village, Kakamega East, last week. Yesterday, Kakamega Governor Wycliffe Oparanya and Eugene held a political meeting in Lugulu after holding so many others last week.


Covid-19 Devolution CS Eugene Wamalwa
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